I am a parent of girls. 

One girl was not competitive and one girl would do what it took to win a ball game.

Our life for 10 straight years was volleyball starting in August — usually the week after school started.

We would play that sport for two months while throwing in some basketball along the way.

After volleyball was over, it was full throttle on basketball.

Luckily for us, my girls played at Valley Springs and the season didn’t end until the state finals. Those were good memories for my daughters.

However, as soon as basketball was over, it was time to bundle up and break out the blankets for softball.

Softball would last until April because Valley Springs was never very good at the diamond sport.

As a parent, this was exhausting. My job took me to many games and at the time, Becky was a high school principal. So between our jobs it was hard to be at every thing.

When the soccer finals were over in May, I was usually dragging.

I receive a lot of emails at work. I am on the SEC email list for most of the colleges in the league. I receive emails. A ton of emails.

However, one email caught my eye as I was deleting them.

It was from a sports team fundraiser group that was trying to provide valuable information to parents.

They released the top 10 states that were the most thankful for a brief break during the holidays from the stressful sports schedules.

Topping the list was Arkansas. A huge majority, 89 percent, stated that they needed a break during the holidays and that their children involved in sports did as well.

South Carolina was second with 87 percent and California was third with 77 percent.

Those are high numbers. Those are very high numbers.

I know how they feel. As a parent you keep on going. You do what your child wants to do.

Hannah was recruited to play collegiate volleyball and had a college basketball coach or two talk to her about playing.

Becky and I had a sit down with Miss Hannah after her sophomore year and then midway through her junior year about playing sports in college.

Getting a college scholarship for athletics is not something that happens your senior year. It does happen, but if you are a Division I athlete, you are being recruited your freshman season.

Getting a scholarship is an art. It is not a recruiting service that takes your money and sends videos to hundreds of colleges. Videos that are received, but according to college coaches that I know, never watched unless it is by a work study student.

Our daughter was tired of the physical and mental strain of sports. She would finish her high school career and become a student.

We skipped the necessary things that are needed for recruiting purposes and she went to team camps with her volleyball and basketball teams during the summer before her senior year..

As her senior year had come to a close, a coach made a contact with our daughter and the next thing that I know, she has opened up the possibility of playing volleyball in college.

One thing led to another and our daughter had a very successful college career in volleyball where she ended one season as the No. 15 setter in the US.

She was very tired after her high school athletic career was over. Parents and students need time off.

However, time off is becoming a thing of the past. We have three schools that have Christmas tournaments in basketball. We have a bunch of teams that go else where to play during the holiday as well. 

Trust me, it is hard to balance family time and Christmas break. 

If you have kids that aren't playing during the breaks, be thankful. 

Jeff Brasel is the sports editor for the Newton County Times. E-mail him at sports@newtoncountytimes.com or follow him at twitter.com/jeffbrasel.

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